Library Marketing for Public Libraries from the Ohio Library Foundation
Marketing training on the web for public library staff

Module ProductPRODUCT



Library Products








Module Overview overview

Module Planning planning

Module Promotion promotion

Module Internet internet

Module Ohio ohio



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Supervisor Tips


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Library Products

Introduction to Marketing the Library Module 3

Products in the mix - what does the library offer?

The marketing planning process requires a look at the library marketing mix: the 4Ps of product, place, price, & promotion. The marketing audit examines the library's products, the tangible goods and services such as events, programming, collections, etc. Market research provides information about user demographics (who they are, where they are, ages, interests, etc.) and determines the values and benefits of library products to your users. User demographics are changing, requiring careful examination of the marketing mix. For example, a current Pew Internet & American Life survey indicates that members of Gen Y (age 18-30) are the leading users of libraries for help solving problems and in more general patronage.

The 4 Ps

The marketing audit (introduced in Module 2) analyzes the the 4 Ps of marketing:

  • Product -- library services available to clients such as interlibrary loan, reference, children's programming, or web access.
  • Price of Service -- includes direct and indirect costs to produce and deliver the product, or actual fees if any.
  • Place -- considers delivery and distribution of the products and services, location of services, availability, and accessibility.
  • Promotion -- how libraries let users know what products are available.

Look at features and benefits of products

The development of an effective marketing strategy requires the specification of the marketing mix. These concepts are utilized in the for-profit sector, but a good library marketing plan will also profit (in the most altruistic sense, of course!) by examining products offered and assessing the value of the products to the users. Market research helps determine what library users are looking for in the way of product features such as variety, quality, and design, and what benefits such as good performance, quality, reliability and durability users demand in services, systems, programs, and resources.

Marketing requires a critical analysis of the marketing mix (the 4Ps: product, place, price, and promotion) to identify the nature, features, benefits, and value of the products to the customer.

What is a product?


What's new in library marketing?

Young adults most likely to use libraries

Tips! What's in this module?

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New concepts